Sunday, April 1, 2012

Infections and pain

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Common Cold

Muscle and joint pain often accompany upper respiratory infections caused by viruses. The other symptoms commonly include fever, fatigue and nausea together with coughing, congestion or sore throat.

The muscle and joint symptoms are usually mild, and their locations may change during the illness. As the illness passes, the pains go away. Nothing out of the ordinary is found in the joints or muscles.

Treatment consists of standard medication for cold. The anti-inflammatory and pain reducing substances in them will alleviate pain in the muscles and joints. However, medication cannot be relied on to prevent a cold, and it does not have an impact on the duration of symptoms. Rather, it helps the patient feel better until the illness is over.


Influenza is usually epidemic in nature. In that case, a large number of people fall ill in the same country, and the disease circles the planet until it dies down.

Influenza may be caused by viruses A, B, or C. Nowadays, the occurrence and movement of different strains of influenza around the world are tracked, and this helps in developing preventive vaccines that reduce the number of serious complications.

The clinical picture of influenza can be terribly harsh. It includes high fever, headache, and severe muscle pains. Complications may be dangerous and even fatal to old and sick people.

Treatment includes symptom-appropriate medication for fever and pain. Make sure to drink enough liquids. Get vaccinated unless there is allergy to eggs.


There may be infections around the body, and one the most common ones is erysipelas, which is caused by streptococcus bacteria.

The symptoms of this disease include a clearly confined redness, burning and possibly swelling. The patient gets a high fever, and the area may be acutely painful. Usually the skin is intact.

Erysipelas is most common in the legs. Bacteria enter the system via a wound, typically through broken skin between the toes caused by foot fungus.

Treatment consists of resting the infected area, antibiotics and local treatment of the fungal infection between the toes.


Folliculitis is possible in a hairy and sweaty area of the skin. A person may be predisposed to it if he comes to contact with oils in his work, has diabetes or is on cortisone treatment. The infection is seen around the follicle in the form of redness and swelling. A boil may eventually appear on the site.

Treatment consists of careful daily washing and showering. Use local antibacterial ointments. Antibiotics are also a treatment option.


A boil may develop due to infection in subcutaneous tissues or contamination of the skin. This initially shows like a local bump, pain, and redness. Fever is likely. When pus forms, the bump becomes soft.

Initial treatment includes warm compresses and antibiotics. When the boil becomes soft, lancing makes sense. It also reduces the pain.

Avoid picking pimples on your face, especially near the nose, because this region has a direct connection to the blood circulation of the brain and may increase the chance of an infection spreading to structures inside the skull.

Herpes Simplex

Type 1 herpes simplex virus causes infections near the mouth and on the skin, and type 2 in the genitals. Initial symptoms may be very mild or quite severe.

The symptoms around the mouth usually begin as itching and burning pain. Small blisters develop shortly thereafter, and they are covered with scabs in about a week. The condition is often prolonged with an accompanying bacterial infection.

Treatment consists of locally applied herpes medication. The earlier its use begins, the better it works. If there is an accompanying bacterial infection, antibiotic ointments are required.


Herpes zoster or shingles usually appears on the chest and stomach, sometimes also in the facial area and near the eye as a blistery and painful rash. The varicella zoster virus that causes it, resides in the spinal cord.

The rash does not cross over the median of the body and is found in the area of only one tactile nerve. When the rash heals, it may leave a scar and sometimes also problematic residual pain.

Normally the opportunity for post-rash pain is small for those under 50 and for those who had little pain at the onset. Those who had fewer than 20 blisters at the beginning have a small probability of post-rash pain.

Treatment may include medication effective with viruses and sometimes also cortisone for those who have a high risk of post-rash pain. Otherwise, the effort is put into preventing an accompanying bacterial infection and controlling pain.

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